For the next few weeks I will write about the eight practices of missional communities, what Campus Renewal Ministries calls “Spark Groups.”
These eight practices are described with greater detail in CRM’s Spark Course, which trains missional community leaders.
Partner With Others
This is why it is called a missional community. It takes at least two people to make a community. Successful missional communities have strong leadership committed to live and share the gospel to the same people group.
You need to partner because it is the mandate of scripture. Jesus sent people out in twos and the early church in Acts sent missionaries out in teams. God knows that we need others to encourage us, to hold us accountable to the vision, and to maximize our influence.
If there is one thing I have observed at the University of Texas it’s that the missional communities with the most partners see the most spiritual fruit. It’s as simple as that.
More Spiritual Gifts
The more believers you have partnering with you on mission the greater diversity of spiritual gifts you will have. While there is a spiritual gift of evangelism, all other spiritual gifts can be used evangelistically.
Missional communities need a variety of partners with a variety of spiritual gifts such as: hospitality, giving, service, mercy, administration, leadership and more. Each person, uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit, can be used by God to demonstrate and declare the gospel through their gifts.
It’s simply true that we connect well with some people and less well with others. We connect best with people who share our temperament, sense of humor, interests, backgrounds, etc. Some people groups are very diverse, so the more partners you have on mission the more connection you will have with other students in the people group, especially with those different from you.
Plus, you can only have deep relationships with a limited number of people. So the more partners you have the broader and deeper relationships can grow.
United on Mission
One last reminder: Don’t limit your partners to those in your campus ministry. This is what is different about missional communities that traditional small groups. They are based out of a people group, not a campus ministry.
For instance, if your dorm floor is your people group there are likely other followers of Jesus on your floor that are part of a different campus ministry than yours. Ask them to join you too. Then you will see even more gifts displayed and more relationships built.
Justin Christopher is the director of Campus Renewal Ministries at the University of Texas and author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the misssonal community movement at the University of Texas.